MSU’s Hollis: Athletes top priority during long delay

November 4, 2017 GMT

East Lansing — Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said the welfare of the student-athletes was the chief priority during a weather delay of more than three hours Saturday afternoon at Spartan Stadium.

Halfway through the first quarter, the game between Michigan State and Penn State was halted because of lightning in the area. Spartan Stadium was evacuated and the game, which kicked off at noon, didn’t resume until 4:38 p.m.

Fewer than 10,000 fans returned for the game after the evacuation.

“The first focus for us is always on the student-athletes,” Hollis said. “That was always at the forefront, both Michigan State and Penn State student-athletes.”

More: Live updates from Penn State-Michigan State game

Hollis said the Spartan Stadium locker rooms, renovated in recent years, “gave a comfortable environment” to the players, who were hydrated and fed during the lengthy break.

Penn State coach James Franklin and Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio were given the option to shorten halftime, but both decided to stick with the 20-minute break.

The teams went into halftime tied at 14.

“It’s a long day for everybody, a long day for fans,” Hollis said. “We finally get a noon game and this happens.”